Is marriage a union that is to be defined by the government or state or is it something that is recognised instead of being defined?

If it is recognised, then marriage is merely a formality. The marriage ceremony is not a marriage ceremony. It only recognises a marriage that already exists.  Perhaps a commitment is a marriage and this is only made public by a ceremony and a certificate?  In other words, marriage is only recognition of commitment and a special word for committment.

Clearly the notion of the state merely having the role of recognising marriage makes no sense. And why would the couple care what the state thinks unless they are looking for benefits from the state?

But what about the idea that the ceremony is required for a marriage to be real and this is what we mean by state or government recognition?

Then surely if a same sex couple for example are closer than most married couples and they go through a wedding ceremony then the state is merely recognising their marriage? We see then that the notion of recognising marriage and defining marriage are compatible - they are not opposites. The argument that the state cannot re-define marriage as between two people no matter what sex they are because the states role is to recognise marriage is incorrect.


Why does the state feel it has the right to regulate marriage and recognise marriage as valid or real according to its laws? Some say that procreation, the children, is the principle reason why the state must recognise marriage and regulate it. But this implies that the state should not consider a union to be a true marriage unless the couple intend to and do have children! Why not regulate the family and forget about marriage? Regulating a marriage is not the same as regulating the family. Many laws regulate the family anyway. If a family is extremely dysfunctional, it is up to social services to do something and marriage will not make any difference.

The law does decree what is a marriage and what is not. Marriage, if valid, is only valid if recognised by civil law. It can be as a simple as signing a partnership agreement or a wedding ceremony. Religious weddings that do not satisfy legal requirements must not be considered to be true weddings. The Catholic Church feels free to let people who are regarded as married to other people by the state remarry in Church resulting in legal bigamy! Marriage is a social matter not a religious one.

Is marriage the partners giving each other the gift of their love and themselves and all that they own? No. It's the commitment that does that not the marriage. Marriage is unimportant compared to the commitment. What is the difference? Marriage is legal, a declaration of law. Law is law and you can't make the law stronger by loving more. Law is law no matter about love. Commitment however is based on love.

You are not more married the more you love. The more you love, the stronger the commitment not the marriage gets.

Marriage is defined by the Christian faith as the lifelong union of one man and one woman for life to the exclusion of any other sexual partners. The state, if it takes seriously the distinction between Church and state, may adopt this definition but will not consider itself bound to it. The Church argues that it is bound to it and must accept that. Thus the Church does not believe in separation of Church and state at least in relation to the definition of marriage. Why then should it believe in separation in relation to anything else then!
For the Church, you do not marry to become happy but to make your wife or husband happy. Marriage is not about you but about the other person and about having children and about doing this for the glory of God.
Assuming marriage, is the business of parliament, then the state rightly re-defines marriage to avoid discriminating against same-sex couples and to give their families the same protection as the families of married heterosexual couples. This is necessary under the legal ethos of "All are equal before the law."
We deep down know and believe that a country can make whatever laws it likes. If the people oppose the laws, they must obey them but work for their abolition. We believe that the law of the land takes priority over other laws such as Church laws. Indeed religion cannot exist unless civil law lets it exist. Talk about separation between Church and state implies that the state should not interfere if a religion advocates say racism or threatening children with hellfire until they go insane with fear. How do we reconcile our instinct that civil law comes first and should be allowed to interfere with our freedom by making stupid laws with a denial that it should interfere with the freedom of religion? This is a matter for debate and discussion. One thing is for sure, the state needs to keep out of marriage and the Church must stop urging it to interfere.
The practice of the state defining marriage and treating it as a legal institution is a relatively new phenomenon. The United Kingdom only started that in 1837. It never bothered making laws about marriage until the early 1700's. Marriage before that was a common law contract.
Marriage today in the eyes of the law creates contracts based on the following,
#Next of kin nomination
#Sharing of property rights
#Duties of care
#Parental rights
#Duty of sex
All of that could be done by signing a private contract. Or perhaps a number of contracts? Of the contracts, the property rights one is essential one.
There is no need for the state to recognise marriage as such. People should sign contracts if they want certain legal protections. They should be able to pick and choose what contracts they make - eg will they have sex, will they own property jointly and so on.
Special rights are given to married couples and that is unfair and against the duty of the law that all are to be considered equal before the law.
For example, inheritance tax exemptions and parental access from marriage need to cease. Also, people need the right to choose what legal arrangements they want in their marriage.
Keep the government out of the laws about marriage, and then couples will decide for themselves what rights they are giving and taking in marriage.
People should not degrade themselves by having a Catholic wedding for that implies support for the principles of discrimination and interference that are enshrined in Catholic marriage. Catholic marriage contracts do not let you select what rights you want.
We protest at the protection the state affords to marriage. Married people gain benefits from the state for being married. The state must cease to look on marriage as a legal contract.
Suppose the state upholds marriage and has laws about it. Let people get married if they wish but no distinction must be made between marriages. For example, a humanist wedding that is not legally recognised must be equalised with a full-blown church wedding that is legalised and which confers legal privileges.
Some say that the best way to make all weddings equal is to legally recognise none of them!
Marriage should be replaced by a property rights contract in which the man and woman agree to own what each other owns. A married couple must be treated as two singles not as a unit. The couple must be treated as two singles living together in a sexual and romantic relationship and not as a unit. There is no need for the state to protect marriage.
As long as some rules are kept in operation there is no problem with a woman maturely having a family outside of marriage. If she takes care to avert the possibility that the children might grow up and unknowingly sleep with their father’s other children and makes sure that there is a wide family circle to help her with the children there is no problem. Making an ideal of marriage insults people in her situation.

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